Friday, 15 August 2014


Iain and I spent a day at the 2014 World Piping Championships.  We were very kindly given VIP tickets which meant we could watch under cover in a rather nice tent.  We met and chatted with some pleasant folk all of whom have an input to the championships in one way or another.

 Flowers in the table of the hospitality tent.  Lovely food and excellent coffee enjoyed by all.

 Iain is admiring the craftsmanship of the makers of bag pipes, in this example, drone pipes. 

This display of chanters has one new, unusual one: in the centre the chanter has been made such that it is not straight up and down, i.e. it is angled.... a new innovation, it would appear.

 St Laurence O'Toole, Eire

  Bagad Cap Caval Pipe Band,  Pipe Major Hervé le Floc'h, France

 Drum sticks for larger drums.

 Roll out the barrel ....

Practice area

 Tuning up

 Tuning up - lots of technological kit involved

Monday, 11 August 2014


We had a lovely surprise this morning!  At precisely 9:50 am a Parcel Force delivery arrived with a large box from Amazon.  It contained books and videos from Alastair!

What was amazing is that Alastair and I only talked about these books etc on Saturday night at 6 pm our time - less than 48 hours ago! 

I suggested that Iain might like a recently published book Last Man Off by Matt Lewis about a Scottish fellow who was aboard a fishing vessel that sank in the South Georgia Sea.  It was on BBC Book of the Week last month.  (Poor Iain, who reads avidly, is very often given whisky as a present; he really doesn't drink the stuff any more!)

The BBC Radio 4 site describes it "In the spring of 1998, Matt Lewis was just 23 and not long out of college when he accepted a job as a scientific observer on the deep-sea fishing vessel Sudur Havid. It was his first time as an observer and, with the fishing season already started, he was rushed out to Cape Town to join the crew. The boat then sailed off to the Southern Ocean, off South Georgia, to fish in some of the most hostile conditions on the planet.

Last Man Off is Matt Lewis's story of that journey and the fateful consequences. It is a story that has waited over 15 years to be told."

And there were pressies for me in the box ... like Christmas!  Maggie and Brian had taken me to see the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. I mentioned to Alastair that I was captivated by the first piece of music in the film. Alastair included in the box a CD of the movie soundtrack!

The opening piece of music that I liked turns out to be: "the Appenzell yodel 's'Rothe-Zäuerli' by Ruedi and Werner Roth, is from the Swiss folk group's Öse Schuppel's album Appenzeller Zäuerli." [Wikipedia]

(The film is a British-German co-production financed by German financial companies and film funding organizations, and was filmed entirely on location in Germany.)

This short video is of that music (and only that piece):

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Alastair is about to start school this coming week. He is now 6.5 years and going into Primary 3 at Mosshead Primary.

John took this photo of him yesterday on their outing to see the Celtic crosses and Viking grave stones in Govan Parish Church. Is this budding engineer? 

Or .... do we see a budding architect?

 Mairi showed me this A4 sheet of paper where she drew the figure on the far right (Clydie from the Commonwealth Games) and Alastair drew his figure beside it.  Quite impressive we thought!

For the record, here is his elephant that he drew in his first year at school.  He was 4 1/2  - rising 5 years old! It was on the display board showing the children's work at the end of the year. Again ... impressive!

However the above picture on A4 turquoise paper is one I kept from a couple of years ago.  At the kitchen table he drew a pumpkin. I have written "aged 4 years and 8 months of age".  Disregard the black bits at the bottom. Look at the outline to make the shape of the pumpkin: a near-perfect circle!

 Some photos from last month's holiday in Arran:

Here he is in Kildonan, just off the beach where we had been beachcombing.

The beach at Kildonan.

 Finally, here are Ishbel and Alastair waiting for the Waverley at Brodick pier.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


The is the official People Make Glasgow 4 minute video. It manages to capture what the Games were all about.

Friday, 8 August 2014


I was driven in from the garden today because of the midges. These small flying insects (in Scotland called highland midges) are a real nuisance.  While they don't give big, nasty bites they result in small itchy ones. Clouds of them can descend when you are trying to set up a tent or have a BBQ.  The only thing to do is abandon your attempt and move.

Here is a funny song by Kenneth McKellar made some years ago.

Thursday, 7 August 2014


Harriet is now 14 months and has suddenly gone from a baby to a toddler.   Now that she is walking, she wants to be climbing and exploring.

The ingénue look.

 Exploring in the garden.

She is starting to make words and we reckon one of her first ones is going to be "Easy Jet", the name of an airline which passes overhead en route to Glasgow Airport.

We spent all afternoon together today. After time spent in the village of Milngavie (where she charmed all the little old lades with her blue eyes and winsome smile) we returned home for much needed sustenance!

Oops ... have to watch her all the time now as she is into everything!

Monday, 4 August 2014


It's Indy's birthday today.  He is 3 years old.  We spoke to him and to Alastair before he left for work.  

Here is Indy on Skype this morning.

The family  have moved to Portland, Oregon where Alastair has a new job.  Indy starts at Pre-school Nursery today.  He continues to have good health other than the occasional bug that he picks up, like every other child, at Nursery School.